In the movie ‘Toy Story’, the main character ‘Woody’, a cowboy doll, has a unique feature: When someone pulls the string on his back, he says, “There’s a snake in my boot.” I was reminded of this line recently, while on an exercise walk near my home.
I was about half way through my walk, when a dull pain began to emerge right behind the ball of my left foot. The dull pain became more intense the further I walked, but I didn’t want to break stride and have a look. It felt as if a stone had lodged in that spot, and despite trying to move my foot inside the shoe, I couldn’t seem to dislodge it.
As I continued my walk with ever increasing pain, I realised I was now beginning to limp, and my pace was slowing. Nevertheless, I determinedly soldiered on, wanting to make it home before removing my shoe to examine the problem area. It was then that the Lord began to speak some spiritual truth that related to my physical situation.
He pointed out that this stone was like the sin of unforgiveness. In our text today, the Lord’s character and nature is to have mercy and forgive transgression, and He expects, and in fact demands, that those who follow him do the same for their fellow human beings. But when we refuse to forgive others of their trespasses, it’s like the stone in my shoe. It begins to have a negative effect on our Christian walk.
Hanging on to unforgiveness doesn’t hurt the stone, or the one who put it there, but it very much affects the one harbouring it. In fact, unforgiveness will eventually make us hobble in our Christian walk to the point of paralysis. I’d eventually have been incapacitated and would have had to sit down, no longer able to proceed in my journey. At minimum, my walk would have been severely handicapped, and I’d have experienced increasing distraction.
When I finally arrived home, I gingerly removed my shoe. To my surprise, I found no stone at all. Instead, I discovered the pain had been created because the insole of my shoe was worn completely through and there was a hole in my sock at the same point. So that spot on my bare foot had been rubbing against the hard rubber of the outer sole of the shoe. This brought me to the final thought from the Lord.
Many times, we’re blaming others and what they did to us for the stilted walk we have with the Lord when, in fact, we have something out of line in our relationship with Him. We have some character flaw or unrecognised or hidden sin that affects our gait. The pain I was feeling was due to some subtle imbalance in the way I’d been walking for a long period of time. This extended off-balance stride eventually caused me to be in severe pain and was slowing my progress. Do we have a character flaw, or perhaps some unforgiveness, or other sin that needs to be addressed? With His help, let’s leave those things behind us ‘underfoot’, rather than carrying them along, making us hobble in our Christian walk.
Prayer: Lord, please search my heart today, and show where there’s any subtle ‘imbalance’ in my walk with You. If I have unforgiveness or some other sin in my life, please show me, so I may seek Your forgiveness, and forgive those who’ve sinned against me. Thank You for Your lovingkindness and mercy. Amen.
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